Audiobooks by Candlelight


Ward and I recently added a new routine to our nights.

Actually, I started it. One night I was looking at all our candles sitting in their holders in our living room, and I thought, It would be so lovely to light them and sit here just absorbing the peace and beauty of it all.

So I did just that. And it was lovely and peaceful.

The next night, I poured myself a glass of wine. And then, because I just couldn’t resist, I put my iPod in its dock and started listening to an audiobook.


A few nights later, (possibly) intrigued by the tranquil picture I presented, Ward asked if he could join me.

And our new nightly routine was born.

Our kids don’t really understand it. My older son said, “Your new nightly ritual is kind of strange. I mean, you guys just sit there in the dark and listen to the radio?”

Well, sort of. Except that it’s not dark. It’s candlelit. And it’s not the radio, it’s an audiobook.

It works for us. We’ve had some really lovely nights so far.

Right now, we’re in the middle of Hell Hole, the 4th installment of the Ceepak series by Chris Grabenstein, and read by the extremely talented Jeff Woodman.

Probably the most difficult part is finding something that we both like. Ward’s not really into urban fantasy or science fiction. I like thrillers but don’t tend to enjoy listening to them (I need the option to speed-flip through tense and/or graphic passages).

So far, in addition to Hell Hole, we’ve listened to Robert B. Parker’s Now and Then (Parker’s minimalist “he said/she said” dialogue doesn’t translate so well into audio, but once you get used to it, Spencer is as enjoyable in audio as he is in print) and the BBC radio dramatization of Mrs. Mcginty’s Dead (which might have been why my son thought we were listening to the radio).

And after we finish Hell Hole (two more hours to go, so we’ll probably finish up tonight), we’ll start the fifth John Ceepak mystery, Mind Scrambler. There’s a while to go before we’ll be able to get the audio version of Rolling Thunder, the sixth in the series; the hardcover version is due out in May.

So I think I’ll be introducing Ward to Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin soon …

This is all really thrilling for me, since I don’t have a spouse who reads. But it turns out we can share a good book through the magic of audiobooks!

33 thoughts on “Audiobooks by Candlelight

  1. Jemi Fraser

    Very cool! My hubby wouldn’t sit and listen — at least not without snoring :) — but I think I’d enjoy that. My biggest problem is that I rarely (ever???) do only one thing. When I watch TV I either read or blog or write or… Not sure I could just listen. Worth a try though!
    .-= Jemi Fraser´s last blog ..Slashing Repetition =-.

    1. Belle

      I’ve gotten so used to relaxing in bed with an audiobook that it was easy to make the transition to listening a little earlier in the living room. Ward, on the other hand, is normally a movie guy, so I was very impressed that he hasn’t been falling asleep!

    1. Belle

      I know. Isn’t it soooo romantic? :) Actually, Ward does like chick flicks, too. But unfortunately, my reading taste doesn’t really veer toward the romantic, so I don’t have any romances in audio.

    1. Belle

      Our candles are actually right next to the fireplace, Molly! We haven’t been using the fireplace because it needs to be cleaned. Ward was actually saying the other night, it would be really nice if we had a fire going in the fireplace. :)

  2. Janel

    This sounds wonderful. My hubby listens to audiobooks while commuting sometimes, but we don’t really have the same taste in books. Of course, this would also involve dragging him away from his laptop at night!
    .-= Janel´s last blog ..Happy Easter! =-.

    1. Belle

      He’s definitely listening – he’ll make comments like he does when he’s watching a movie and thinks he’s guessed the next plot point (“hah. it’s in the red box, of course”) :)

  3. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    That sounds like such a nice evening routine — the candles and the wine sound so relaxing! Boyfriend doesn’t read much either, but we found awhile ago that he likes listening to books too (on audiobook, or me reading aloud). We now do that occasionally, but not as often as I’d like.

  4. Chris Grabenstein

    Thanks for including me in your romantic night. My wife, J.J. Myers do a version of this sometimes. She’s an Audio actress and narrated my YA books THE CROSSROADS and THE HANGING HILL. We light a fire and listen to her do all the voices. It reminds me of the power of Radio Drama….

    p.s. Jeff Woodman recorded ROLLING THUNDER last week and we’re thinking Audible is planning to release it simultaneously with the book on May 5th.

    1. Belle

      Thanks, Chris – you just made my day! Ever since I finished Mind Scrambler last year (I discovered the entire Ceepak series last summer and ended up going through them all in the space of six very fun weeks!) I’ve been waiting for the next in the series. I was a little hazy about when audio versions are released and figured I’d have to wait a bit after the release date. I will be sure to save an Audible credit for ROLLING THUNDER!

  5. Barbara

    Since I’m as old as dirt, it reminds me of evenings with my parents listening to the old radio shows: The Green Hornet, Amos & Andy, Jack Benny and many others. They only balked at Gangbusters – thought it was too violent for me, and maybe they were right. I loved those evenings together. Kids today would definitely not get why I’m nostalgic for radio.
    .-= Barbara´s last blog ..Happy to be a Nobody =-.

  6. Dorte H

    I love the idea of candlelight and a glas of wine together with my husband, but no audiobooks for me. I would read a book or watch a film instead.

    Great that you have found a new way to enjoy life together.
    .-= Dorte H´s last blog ..Y for The Yellow Face =-.

  7. Bernadette in Australia

    Sounds lovely. One of the reasons I enjoy audio books is that it really takes you back to old-fashioned story telling as stories were told orally long before they were written down. Sharing it with someone else in such a relaxing way is an added bonus.

    Can’t wait to see more reviews/tips of the audio books you’ve shared. Since you introduced me to the magic of the Chris Grabenstein/Jeff Woodman collaborations I’ve listened to three of the books (I have the rest in my audible library but I’m trying very hard to space them out) but in between have found some other great listens – you might like to try Reginald Hill’s A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES narrated by Jonathan Keeble – you don’t have to have read all the Dalziel and Pascoe novels to enjoy it (I’ve only read one previous one) as it’s quite an independent story – Dalziel is recovering from being shot and goes to some sort of rehab place and a murder takes place – he sort of teams up with a young girl as his fellow investigator – lots of the story is told from his diary and her emails to her sister – I thought it was a great, fun read and beautifully narrated.
    .-= Bernadette in Australia´s last blog ..Review: Dead at Daybreak by Deon Meyer =-.

    1. Belle

      I bought A CURE FOR ALL DISEASES in audio because of your review, Bernadette! I’d already read the book, and really loved it, and when I read your review I thought I’d like to reread it in audio. It was as wonderful as you described in your review. Since then I’ve also tried a few of the older books in audio, but I like Jonathan Keeble’s narration much better. I think Ward might enjoy this one – thanks for reminding me of it.

    1. Belle

      When I first started listening to the Nero Wolfe books, I had a bit of a problem because the narrator, Michael Pritchard, didn’t sound like what I thought Archie Goodwin sounded like. But fortunately it didn’t take me long to get over that! Pritchard is a good narrator and does the different voices well, and I’ve been enjoying the audios a lot.

      I’m hoping Ward will enjoy the series – the bonus is that they’re short, about five hours on average, which is something Ward would like (he thinks the Ceepak mysteries are long, but at about 8 hours, they’re about average length!).

  8. MarthaAndMe

    I think this is a terrific thing to do. We’ve found that we need to carve out time to spend together too and lately we’ve been trying to go out to dinner alone on Thursday nights when our son is at fencing class. It’s a nice chance to reconnect. My husband likes audiobooks but I would much rather read actual books. I get impatient with audiobooks since I guess I read so fast and am used to plowing through things.


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